Monday, November 07, 2005

Funny thing about that

John Hinderaker at Power Line wonders What's the Point of the Democrats' obsession with Valerie Plame's outing, in particular, and with pre-war intelligence in general.
The Democrats appear to be putting all their eggs in the pre-war intelligence basket, but why? Certainly not because they actually believe it's a legitimate issue.
Funny thing about that. When your opponents insist that your issue isn't legitimate, you can be certain it is.
Several investigations have already concluded that the Bush administration didn't manipulate pre-war intelligence….
Funny thing about that. When your opponents consistently mischaracterize the purpose and findings of investigations into pre-war intelligence, you know they're jammed.

Hinderaker doesn't name the investigations. He probably means the Bush-appointed Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction [the Robb-Silberman commission] and the Senate's Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Pre-War Intelligence Assessment on Iraq [the Roberts-Rockefeller commission].

I'm assuming as much because Bush partisans (David Brooks, William Kristol, et al) have once again been making disingenuous (okay, lying) references to the Robb-Silberman report as disproving pre-war manipulation of intelligence.

There's just this one monumentally stubborn fact: the Robb-Silberman commission was not charged with making any determination about pre-war intelligence manipulation.

Oh, and when the targets in the crosshairs are Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, Bushbots will invariably cite the findings of the bipartisan (always their emphasis) Roberts-Rockefeller commision. But that's disingenuous (okay, lying) too.

The critical comments regarding Wilson are contained in a partisan addendum to the commission report that was written by Republicans Roberts, Hatch, and Bond.
Moreover, the whole idea that the administration would use Iraq's WMDs as a "pretext" for war is stupid.
Using WMDs as a pretext for the Iraq War was stupid? Funny thing about that because, hey, it actually worked.

A group of powerful people with different but mutually beneficial motives — regime change, increased military spending, lucrative no-bid contracts — got exactly what they wanted. What's stupid about that?
If the administration knew Saddam didn't have the weapons, then it also knew its "pretext" would be exposed as soon as the invasion was complete.
Funny thing about that. The official search for WMDs went on for a long time after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The search wasn't officially declared over until January 2005.

In fact, the Iraq Survey Group had called it quits a few weeks earlier, but the Bush Administration never really got around to officially announcing it until the new year.

Of course, in the nearly 2 years from invasion until the official "no WMDs" declaration, a lot of confusing, conflicting, and conflated stories about WMDs in Iraq were "placed" in the media, just to keep stringing the American people along.

So successful was this tactic that for a time, a significant number of Americans (a high percentage of them FOX News viewers) believed that WMDs actually had been found. Some probably still believe this. That's what a good disinformation campaign will do for your cause.

There were a few bumps in the road, however. On January 28, 2004, David Kay, the outgoing head of the Iraq Survey Group, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee: "We were almost all wrong."

That must have rattled the Bush Administration. But Kay's replacement, Charles Duelfer, bought them some much needed time, especially during the run-up to the 2004 election.

In the spring of 2004, Duelfer said he was not ready to say that there were no weapons, and he managed to drag out the search for WMDs until safely after the 2004 presidential election.

For the true believers, though, it ain't over till it's over — and sometimes not even then. Many partisans believe everything — lock, stock, and two smoking nuclear warheads — had been shipped to Syria.

As the rightwing blog Captain's Quarter declared: "The truth is that without a full reckoning and complete access to the entire Southwest Asia area, no WMD search could possibly be complete."
No one would be dumb enough to go to war on the basis of a claim that was not only wrong, but would quickly be shown to be wrong.
Funny thing about that. "Dumb enough" is not the right, ah, metric. It's not a question of being dumb enough. It's a question of being just that calculating, just that arrogant, and just that confident in the acquiescence of key members of the government and of the corporate media.

And a funny thing about that too. They were.

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